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yours. (1 John, iii. 8) is for our encouragement. - For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil;" not instantaneously, but gradually; and eventually, completely and entirely. This purpose began to be unfolded by his incarnation. The prophecy or promise (Gen. iii. 15), was answered thereby, in that He, the seed of the woman, did bruise the old serpent in his usurped dominion, for he appeared in the heart of it, and struck a blow at his very head, declaring his overthrow, while in himself alone Satan had no part; “holy, harmless, and undefiled,” the prince of this world, as at the first by temptation, so at the last in the time of his passion came; but had nothing in Him. Stopped therefore he was at once, and to the end, in his work against the Son of God himself, and at the same time checked in his dreadful operations among the children of men. See that remarkable passage in Luke, xi. 21, where he is described possessing the body of a man as his palace, and the powers and faculties of the man himself, as one hath his own goods in quietness and peace, without another disputing his right; and he is said to be not only strong, but armed; and thus he possesseth his victim until a stronger than he, until the Lord Jesus Christ, Almighty, expelleth the usurper from the hearts of the children of the kingdom, and there enthrones himself.
But neither is this completely effected so long as the body of sin remaineth, since through and by means of its natural lusts he tempteth and assaulteth to the last ; vet did he receive a further bruise on his head touching the matter of possession; for though I dare not say there hath never been an instance of demoniacal possession since, yet I dare affirm there hath been none such as were common in the days of his flesh, when he delivered one of a legion, or of many devils, and Mary the Magdalen of seven ; and thus we see the devil's work progressively destroyed, and one thing yet remaineth to be said with regard to this awful possession, that Jesus by his word cast him out; and not only so, but stopped his work after that manner in the person, saying (Mark, ix. 25), “ Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him."
And this should console and sustain every believer in Jesus, not so as to be off his guard, as if the enemy were altogether destroyed, but to watch against his devices, seeing that he yet is in this world, (see Eph. vi. 12). “We wrestle not against flesh and blood (only), but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness (or rather wicked spirits), in high places." For this reason let every believer
seek strength of the Lord, even the power of his might, and he shall stand through every evil day, and having done all shall stand.
But for further and greater encouragement, and to be assured of the entire conquering of this great enemy in the Lord's good time, look to that precious promise in Rom. xvi. 20; “ The God of peace shall bruise (or tread) Satan under your feet shortly.” “ The God of peace,” (John, xiv. 27; Eph. ii. 13, 15), “ even the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout (1 Thes. iv. 16): and then shall the “prince of the power of the air,” (Eph. ii. 2) “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," be cast down and bruised under our feet. As yet he is above us, has possession of the air, and the rule of evil spirits; but shortly the children of the kingdom, if buried, shall be raised as Moses ; if living and remaining, shall be changed as Elias, and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, as these representatives of the body of members appeared with him in glory on the mount when he foreshewed his kingdom (Matt. xvi. 28), and power and coming (2 Pet. i. 16), and we are therefore bound, I say, to take courage ; yea, and to comfort one another with these and many such words. But his destruction is secured, as by the sealing of the covenant, by the incarnation, and blood-shedding, and death of the Son of God, so far, at least, as the children are concerned ; for in Heb. ii. 14, it is written, “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them (give them liberty) who, through fear of death, were all their life time subject to bondage.” Then, Rev. xx. 1, 2, is descriptive of cutting short the work of destroying Satan's works; for the angel of the covenant is to come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and bind, and cast him into it; I say, the angel of the covenant, our Jesus, the head of all, shall effect this, even as to destroy his works or workings he was manifested, for He it is who was alive and is dead—and yet, behold He is alive for evermore (Rev. i. 18), and has the keys of death and hell. But this destruction of Satan's work, in the air and the earth, and binding him, and the coming of Christ in his power and glory, meet and harmonise with the saints' resurrection: for they that are Christ's (1 Cor. xv. 23), rise at his coming, “ and the saints,” even the children shall then“ possess the kingdom ”—the kingdom for which we pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven;" and, as promised by Him who cannot deceive (Dan. vii. 27), “ The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heavens, shall be given to the saints
of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” They suffered with Him in the conflict against the enemy, and he being cast out, they reign with Him in his kingdom.
Fourthly, THE END AND RESULT, for the end is at hand, as may be gathered from the remainder of the parable, which we have only time to read, making a passing remark. Verse 39: The harvest is the end of the (Christian) age; and the reapers are the angels ; as therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire ; so shall it be at the end of this
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity ; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Now, observe, this kingdom must be on earth, for it is impossible to conceive of things offending, or of persons doing iniquity, in any other kingdom of Christ's, but that which is to be purified with his presence, and when his saints shall reign on the earth (Rev. v. 10;) 6 and then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
This probably is identical with, or nigh unto, the final destruction of Satan, who, after his last struggle (Rev. xx. 14), is cast into the lake of fire “ prepared for him and his angels." And when Christ is said (1 Cor. xv. 28) to deliver up the kingdom unto the Father, and when the righteous therefore shine therein, while He in the glory of the Father, reigns for ever and ever—and Jehovah, God, is all in all.
" Who hath ears to hear let him hear.” My dear brethren, all of you give ear. My brethren according to the flesh, give ear, I pray you, to the awful truth which has been truly advanced. Whether you receive it or not, it is the truth of God, that so long as you have your standing, without him, and are not partakers of his divine nature, as sown of him, and children of the kingdom, you are the sown of Satan, his children, or his slaves. What an awful consideration! Can you bear it? Will you dare to sleep upon it? O! that you may lay it to heart, and that the Lord may shew you mercy! Is it not a time to cry, “ Lord Jesus, sow the seed of eternal life in my heart ?"
Next, my brethren in the faith, you (who have received the holy seed, and are exercising faith in Jesus and studying his word, beware of this great enemy, even Satan, who as a roaring lion is seeking to devour you. Resist him, and he will flee from you-draw near to God, and he will draw near to you, and bless, and preserve
And study the word more and more, I beseech you ; study it, to assure yourselves of the final overthrow of Satan, and the glorious triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ. Examine the Greek, if you can, which, for the truth's sake has been given you; and examine the whole statement, to see if our prospect, and the prospect of the church, be as stated.
Must it not be so for Christ's sake? Would it be glorious to Christ if otherwise ? If this planet, our world, were to be destroyed, annihilated, would it be glorious to Christ? Would not this be granting to Satan all he sought for? Has not destruction been his aim from the beginning? Is he not the destroyer ? But shall not Christ be glorified in his destruction ? and, Satan and sin being cast out of the world, shall it not be filled with the glory of the Lord? Shall not the kingdoms which he hath usurped and possessed, become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, that he may reign for ever and ever?
The fire, whatever the process may be, will no more destroy the earth than did the water; for the glory and honour of our Lord require that where he suffered he must be glorified, and then the saints, and the earth too, shall enjoy the sabbath that remaineth, and this is what is meant by our prophetical Psalm, “ When the people, yea, all the people shall praise Jehovah ;" when “ the earth shall yield her increase” (the curse being taken off it), “and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.” And this is the result of an apostle's reckoning, and the testimony of the Spirit by him (Rom. viii. 17): “ If children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us; for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God; for the creature (xtions the creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now; and not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our body.”
O blessed and glorious hope! Lift up your hearts unto the coming king, and when he shall appear he will lift up your heads, and give you the kingdom.
THE CHURCH A TESTIMONY FOR GOD TO THE WORLD.
REV. T. BINNEY,
KING’S WEIGH HICUSE CHAPEL, LONDON BRIDGE, SEPTEMBER 11, 1836. |
“ Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.”—ISALAH, xliii. 12.
The church, whose internal blessedness is in God-God arising into his rest, dwelling in the midst of his people, giving them gracious promises, and fulfilling their supplications--the church, whose happiness is in God, and its experienced blessedness from him, is under obligation to stand forth to the world as giving a perpetual testimony for God. God expects this; heaven expects it; and earth is to be benefitted by it. God is saying to every Christian church, “ Ye are my witnesses that I am God.”
Look for a moment at the context, catch a view of the picture with which these words are connected; and then let us look to the sentiment in relation to ourselves.
The general idea to be gathered from the context is this: God is supposed to be looking down from the throne of his glory on earth, and observing the conduct of men in relation to himself. He sees almost every where that he, the sovereign Lord, is virtually excluded from his own world, that his place is usurped by idols, that all nations are given up to their idolatry, and that he is not acknowledged, not worshipped, not served. He seems to say, “ Shall this state of things be allowed to continue? Am I never to be respected ? Am I never to have my claims, nerer to have my due? I will bring this matter to the test; it shall come to a conclusion: I will assemble the whole world; I will call all men to come together to me: I will inquire of the nations that are worshipping idols to produce their evidences, and to stand forth, they who are witnesses of the deity of these things that they worship; and I will call on my own people to stand forth, and give their testimony
“ Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears;" bring forth the blind people that are as though they had no eyes, and the deaf people that are as if they had no ears; that is, all the Gentiles, who, though they have the capacity